West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has announced a set of practical proposals to tackle the cost of drugs to public services, reduce drug-related crime and the shocking number of deaths in the region, in a report published today.
The Commissioner’s proposals include:
- Establishing a formal scheme to divert those suffering from addiction into treatment and away from the courts.
- Joining-up police, community safety and public health funding streams to increase efficiency and improve outcomes for those suffering from addiction.
- Prescribing heroin in a medical setting to people suffering from addiction who have not responded to other forms of treatment. This will take the market away from organised criminals and stop people stealing to fund their addiction. Work with the Home Office, who have championed the benefits of Heroin Assisted Treatment.
- Equipping and training police officers in the application of naloxone – a medication that can be used to help those overdosing.
- Establishing a Drug Early Warning Programme, to make the public, outreach workers and medical professionals aware of the impact of emerging drugs. The aim is to reduce the number of deaths.
- Introducing on-site testing in night-time economy areas to reduce the number of deaths and increase the authorities’ intelligence of drugs in circulation.
- Considering the benefits of Drug Consumption Rooms to assess if they would add value to current services in the West Midlands. Drug Consumption Rooms allow people suffering from addiction to access clean equipment, medical support and drug treatment services.
- Ensuring more money is seized from large-scale organised criminal gangs, profiting from the misery of the drugs trade. The extra money will be invested in drug treatment programmes.
Jamieson says he will work with organisations and the people of the West Midlands to turn the eight recommendations into reality.
Peter Glass, Cranstoun’s Director of Operations, said:
“The Cranstoun Group is pleased to have contributed to the development of the West Midlands Drug Policy Recommendations document, which identifies a number of key areas, not only around wider policy issues in the field but specifically in establishing the importance and value of drug treatment as a proven intervention to significantly reduce crime.
The value of treatment and recovery providers working within community-based Criminal Justice environments is well documented and any opportunity to re-introduce drug intervention programmes, along with engagement and diversion schemes should be a cornerstone of any future development and commissioning.”